STATEMENT: Ga. Bureau of Prisons on Facebook posting - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

STATEMENT: Ga. Bureau of Prisons on Facebook posting

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Below are the statements WTOC received from the Bureau of Prisons, Georgia Dept. of Corrections and the Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

From Bureau of Corrections:

"The policy has not changed. Inmates housed at our facilities are not given access to the internet and law prohibits them from possessing telecommunications devices in correctional facilities. When a GDC inmate is identified on Facebook, the Department contacts them to request removal of the page. If an individual comes across an inmate Facebook page, we ask that they please contact the Department of Corrections and report it by going to dcor.state.ga.us.

The Department does not tolerate contraband and takes very seriously its mission of protecting the public and running safe and secure facilities."

"The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) does not have a policy specifically addressing inmates' use of Facebook.  However, our inmates do not have access to the internet and possession of a cell phone is considered a Greatest Severity offense in our disciplinary program.  Inmates found to have possessed a cell phone are subject to a wide range of administrative sanctions (including loss of good conduct time, disciplinary segregation, loss of visiting and/or phone privileges, etc) as well as possible prosecution in federal court.

The BOP occasionally finds cell phones within our facilities, and we have serious concerns about their introduction into any of our facilities.  We conduct regular searches within our facilities to detect this type of contraband and investigate any allegations of cell phone possession.

Though you would need to contact Facebook to determine their current policy, the BOP routinely notifies them when it appears a 3rd party is updating a Facebook page allegedly belonging to an inmate in our custody. 

To clarify based on our phone conversation, inmate Ricky Jivens has been incarcerated at our Big Sandy, Kentucky, penitentiary since 2008.  And most, if not all, of our facilities have an inmate photo program in which photographs of inmates and/or their visitors are taken at the inmate's expense.  The photos become the property of the inmate and he/she is free to send them to family and friends through the mail," Chris Burke, Public Affairs Specialist, Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Georgia Department of Corrections:

"Inmates housed at GDC facilities are not given access to the internet and law (Senate Bill 366) prohibits them from possessing telecommunications devices in correctional facilities.  The sentence for violating or attempting to violate this law is imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years," Gwendolyn Hogan, Public Relations and Information Coordinator Georgia Department of Corrections.

Chatham County Sheriff's Office:

 "No cell phones are allowed in the secure area.  Not even the corrections officers and deputies who work in the jail are allowed to have them inside the secure area of the jail.  We have metal detectors at the entrance and bags are searched.  Only members of our command staff are allowed to have cell phones inside the jail.  Our inmates also have absolutely no access to the internet.  Therefore we do not have a problem with this in the Chatham County Detention Center. " Michelle Gavin, Director of Public Information Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

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